Protesters Blocked From Returning to Bahrain’s Pearl Square

November 4, 2011, 7:41 pm

Protesters Blocked From Returning to Bahrain’s Pearl Square

Hundreds of protesters were prevented from returning to a symbolic square in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, on Friday, following the funeral of a man the main opposition party said was beaten to death by security forces this week.
Activists said this video, posted on YouTube on Friday, showed members of the country’s national guard deploying in armored vehicles to prevent mourners from marching to an area of the capital formerly known as Pearl Square.

The square, also known as the Lulu Roundabout, was a center of the country’s protest movement in February before it was cleared by force and the monument at its center razed to the ground by the authorities.
Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest Shiite opposition group, said in a statement posted on its Web site that Ali Hassan al-Daihi, the 70-year-old father of a party leader, died on Thursday after being beaten by police officers the night before. According to a Reuters translation the statement said: “The assault left a deep wound in his head, bruises to his forehead, a cut near his eye and blood gushing from his mouth.” The party also released photographs of Mr. Daihi with cuts and bruises to his face and blood on his clothes, receiving medical treatment on Wednesday.
A government information office said Mr. Daihi had “reportedly fainted at home and injured his lower lip” before dying of natural causes.
A video posted online on Friday appeared to show large crowd of mourners at the funeral chanting, “Down with Hamad,” referring to Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, from the Sunni royal family.

Zainab Alkhawaja, the daughter of an imprisoned human rights activist, reported on the funeral in updates and photographs posted to her @AngryArabiya Twitter feed.
DESCRIPTIONZainab Alkhawaja, via Yfrog
A Bahraini blogger’s photograph of Friday’s funeral for Ali Hassan al-Daihi.
She reported that it was “almost impossible to reach” the area where the funeral was held, perhaps because it was “very close to Pearl Square.” The authorities, she reported on Friday morning, were apparently “very nervous that people might head to Pearl Square after the funeral.”
Seems the gov is very nervous that ppl might head to pearl sq. after the funeral #bahrainFri Nov 04 06:35:18 via Twitter for BlackBerry®
Videos posted online by activists appeared to support the accounts of witnesses who told The Associated Press that security forces had scattered demonstrators marching to Pearl Square by firing tear gas and driving vehicles at them.

Several clips uploaded by activists appeared to show police vehicles charging at protesters in one location following the funeral, and protesters responding by pelting the cars with rocks.

A police statement posted on the Web site of Bahrain’s state news agency acknowledged that there had been clashes “following an illegal demonstration staged after the funeral of Ali Hassan al-Daihi.”
The statement blamed the violence on “around 600 rioters” who “took to the streets, committing acts of sabotage and blocking roads with garbage bins and rocks.” The statement also quoted a senior police official who said allegations that police cars had attempted to run over protesters were incorrect. “These allegations don’t have an iota of truth, being baseless,” the official said.